Dear Senator Gillibrand,
I am a Jewish New Yorker writing to express my sincere displeasure with your decision to support suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority. While I appreciate the fact that you are the Senator of all New Yorkers and that that includes a sizable Jewish population that takes a hardline position on Israel, I believe that it is incredibly foolish and shortsighted to apply economic pressure to the P.A. to stop it from taking steps to achieve independence while a recalcitrant Israel continues to violate its own international commitments without consequence.
In November, Israel’s Knesset voted in favor of annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank—a unilateral action which, if undertaken, will eradicate any possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state, as these settlements cut deep into the territory that would comprise a future Palestinian state. Israel also continues to expand these settlements unimpeded by the United States.
I understand that suspension of aid to the P.A. is intended to force them back to the negotiating table, yet when Israel takes unilateral actions such as those I’ve described, the U.S. makes no effort to censure Israel through a restriction of funds or arms transfers. Even State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki admitted in a June 2013 press briefing that, while it is U.S. policy to hold the P.A. accountable for deviating from the peace process, it is not U.S. policy to hold Israel accountable in the same way.